By ANDREA VARGO
Since seventh grade, Christina Mosch of Waverly has been producing beautiful works of art, and no one around her, other than family, knows.
Mosch, a quiet young lady, does not even talk about her passion to schoolmates.
A senior at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Mosch does native American beadwork, and some of that work is on exhibit at the University of Minnesota Goldstein Gallery.
She designs jewelry pieces and has an assortment of beaded items that include a turtle umbilical fetish, a baby moccasin, and many different pieces of neckwear, including a bear claw necklace.
The turtle fetish has a story that goes with it, as do many of the beaded bags.
The turtle is a beaded leather piece that hangs on the baby's cradle. When the umbilical cord falls off, it is sewn inside the turtle.
It is worn by the person later, and the story says that if it is lost, the person's spirit will wander, lost, after death, said Mosch.
She said she started working with beads when she found some beads at a flea market and made a necklace.
Her mother introduced her to a friend, Gail Liman of Wayzata, who had a bead shop.
Liman gave classes, so Mosch started on bead jewelry.
It was at the shop that Mosch and her parents, Rose and Richard, met Tis Mal Crow of Kentucky.
Crow, a native American artist, carves, does beadwork and is an herbalist. He said he recognized the natural ability of Mosch and encouraged her.
Crow taught Mosch different techniques and how to cast a pattern on the leather pieces, but he said he mostly tries to leave her alone.
She has a good eye for design and color, he said, and pays a tremendous amount of attention to detail.
The latest project for Mosch is a leather dress. As she displayed the cape portion of the dress, she produced boxes of tiny seed beads.
Each box of beads weighs about five pounds.
"The entire dress will be covered with the seed beads. There won't be any of the leather showing, and it will be very heavy," said Mosch.
It took four deer skins to make the dress, and there will be numerous beaded fringes hanging all around the bottom portion of the dress.
Crow said it is an enormous undertaking, to tackle a project of this size. Few experienced adults would do it.
It will be about two years before it is finished, said Mosch.
On display at the Goldstein Gallery are a native American feather prayer fan and a beaded rosette necklace.
Crow said over 1,000 artists entered up to two pieces of art each, but only 86 pieces were chosen for the exhibition.
He said Mosch is one of the few artists to have two items on display.
The 71 exhibitors come from 25 states, Argentina, and Australia, and the exhibition runs until June 14.
The Goldstein Gallery is located on the U. of M. campus in St. Paul.